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Jeremiah 30:18-20 1
18 “This is what the LORD says: “‘I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place. 19 From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained. 20 Their children will be as in days of old, and their community will be established before me; I will punish all who oppress them.

img183Background 2

The dates of Jeremiah’s birth and death are not known. It is known that he began his preaching either in the thirteenth year of King Josiah of Judah (626 B.C.) or at the accession of King Jehoiakim of Judah (608). He preached and taught for over 40 years, so his death must have taken place sometime in the first half of the 6th century B.C., probably between 580 and 560 B.C.

The entire background of Jeremiah’s life and the words ascribed to him are permeated with the sense of disaster and disintegration which Judaism and Jews underwent in the 6th century B.C. The northern portion of Palestine, the kingdom of Israel, fell to the Assyrians in 622 B.C. A similar fate threatened the south, the kingdom of Judah, with its capital city of Jerusalem. The Assyrians were conquered by the Babylonians. The latter invaded Judea and captured Jerusalem in 587 B.C. A year later the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple, ended the kingdom of Judah, and deported the Jews (the Babylonian Captivity). Many Jews, among them Jeremiah, fled to Egypt for safety. As far as is known, however, Jeremiah died violently, perhaps by crucifixion, perhaps by the sword.

Not all of the writings ascribed to Jeremiah are considered by modern scholars to be really his. In fact, it is not certain that he ever actually wrote a line. It seems more likely that he dictated much of his material to an assistant or secretary called Baruch. Baruch made two collections of Jeremiah’s words, one toward the end of the 7th century B.C. (605-600) and one toward the end of the prophet’s life. Baruch added some materials of his own, and there were some later additions. Jewish tradition also ascribes the Book of Lamentations and the Book of Kings to Jeremiah.

Jeremiah’s words and pronouncements are directly concerned with the then feverish political maneuvering going on between 605 and 586 B.C. and with the Babylonian Captivity. His early message was simple: unless both king and people reformed their morals and returned to the true worship of God as taught by Moses, Jerusalem would be destroyed and its people killed or exiled. Jeremiah’s general message was that temple and priesthood and kingship were of no avail if the heart of man was not clean from idolatry, from lies, and from deception of all kinds. His novel contribution as a prophet was his claim that God would replace the Old Covenant with the Israelites by a new covenant. Peculiarly, this new covenant was not to be restricted to Jews but was to include all the world. Jeremiah taught a universalist creed which would embrace all people.

Biblical Truths 3

Here we have here intimations of the favor of God for them after the days of their calamity have expired. The proper work and office of Christ, as Mediator, is to draw near unto God, for us, as the High Priest of our profession. His own undertaking, in compliance with his Father’s will, and in compassion to fallen man, engaged him. Jesus Christ was, in all this, truly wonderful. They shall be taken again into covenant with the Lord, according to the covenant made with their fathers. “I will be your God:” it is his good-will to us, which is the summary of that part of the covenant. The wrath of God against the wicked is very terrible, like a whirlwind. The purposes of his wrath, as well as the purposes of his love, will all be fulfilled. God will comfort all that turn to him; but those who approach him must have their hearts engaged to do it with reverence, devotion, and faith.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is it that when life is bad, we seek God and life is good, we do not?
  • After a disaster has passed and we know we are going to be OK, why is it important to thank God?
  • What can mankind do to seek the protection and intercession of our God?
  • What can we tell about a person who has a “thankful heart?”
  • How might those who neglect Christ find salvation?

 

Philippians 4:6
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Background 4

Luke described the city called Philippi as a Roman ‘colony’ (Acts 16:12). The emperor Augustus allowed retired soldiers to live there after they had supported him in a battle in 31 BC. As a Roman colony, its citizens possessed the same rights and laws as those who lived in Italy. Paul and Silas, with Timothy and Luke, established the church there after they crossed from Asia into Europe (Acts 16:12-40). Paul visited Philippi again on his third journey (Acts 20:1-6). It was a group of Christians of whom Paul was very fond. He called its members his ‘joy and crown’ (4:1). The Christians in Philippi were not rich, but they supported Paul with more than one gift of money. They also gave money for the poor Christians in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).

The purpose of Paul’s letter to them was:

  • to thank the Christians at Philippi for the gifts that they had sent him by Epaphroditus.
  • to inform the Christians at Philippi about his own circumstances. He also wanted to tell them that Epaphroditus had recovered from his dangerous illness. He was returning to Philippi.
  • to appeal for unity and for the end of quarrels in the church.
  • to warn them about false doctrine, especially that of Jewish Christians who insisted on circumcision for Gentiles.
  • to urge them to remain loyal to their faith and to stand firm against opponents.

Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter. He was not sure of the result of a trial. Some writers suggest that the prison was in Ephesus or Caesarea. But it is more likely that he was in Rome. He probably wrote this letter at the end of the two years that we read about in Acts 28:30.

Bible Truths

‘Do not be anxious about anything’ -These words will remind Christians that the Lord is always with them. And they will meet him when he returns. Christians should pray about everything. They should pray:

  • that God will forgive them for the past
  • about what they need now, both for the body and for the spirit
  • for God to guide them in the future.

God’s love desires what is best for us. His wisdom knows what is best. His power can cause what is best for us to happen. Every prayer should include thanks. We should be grateful that God wants to listen. We should believe that he will give us the best answer.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the various ways you pray? (when, where, why, how, etc.)
  • Why is prayer necessary for a Christian?
  • How do you think someone’s faith is helped by prayer?
  • Why is the “thankful” component so important when we pray to our God?
  • How do you think the human spirit is aided by prayer?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can we encourage open, heartfelt prayer in those around us?
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